AP Sharing Sponsored Tweets And Panicking Reporters

The Associated Press (AP) is blazing a trail for online news outlets this week, with its announcement today that it will be sharing sponsored tweets during CES.

Does this surprise and/or worry you? If so, you’re not alone, but you may be worrying needlessly.

The Associated Press announced today that Samsung “will be the first company to provide sponsored tweets to the news agency’s primary Twitter account, @AP.” And sharing these tweets with its more than 1.5 million followers.

Samsung will be the first, meaning others will follow.

The sponsored tweets will appear twice each day this week (Jan. 7-11), “timed with the 2013 International CES – the consumer electronics show — in Las Vegas.”

“We are thrilled to be taking this next step in social media,” said Lou Ferrara (https://twitter.com/LouFerrara), the AP managing editor overseeing the newsroom social media efforts. “As an industry, we must be looking for new ways to develop revenues while providing good experiences for advertisers and consumers. At the same time, advertisers and audiences expect AP to do that without compromising its core mission of breaking news.”

This news was met with a bit of trepidation online. Is the Associated Press taking the first tentative steps on to a slippery slope?


Nah. The AP “developed internal guidelines in recent months so that it may build new business models in the new media landscape without compromising its newsroom values and principles.” And besides, it turns out they stepped out on to that slope LONG ago and seem to know what they’re doing.

This isn’t their first attempt at national advertising. They have a YouTube channel, where advertising has been sold via Google, a bunch of hosted websites and its award-winning news app AP Mobile, which has been ad-supported from its start in 2008.

So despite the worrying making the rounds online, AP vows to remain the “unbiased independent news source.”

Also, note that Samsung isn’t taking over AP’s Twitter to tweet all wily nily. (We asked.) Paul Colford, Director of Media Relations tells us that AP staffers will be tweeting the tweets received from Samsung this week. “These tweets will be clearly labeled ‘SPONSORED TWEETS’ and handled by staffers outside the AP news department, much like the ads that appear on AP Mobile and other AP platforms.”

But what do you think of this? Do you still have concerns?

(Panic image from Shutterstock)